Power plants rated ‘reliable’ rise over 15 years

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THE reliability of power plants has improved over the years, according to 15 years of statistics released by the Department of Energy (DoE), which shows 90.3% of the country’s installed capacity is rated ”dependable.”

In a report, the DoE estimated installed capacity last year at 22,728 megawatts (MW) with dependable capacity at 20,515 MW. This compares with the 15,124-MW installed or rated capacity recorded in 2003, of which 88.6% or 13,397 MW were dependable.

In terms of sources, natural gas and coal-fired power plants were the most dependable with 7,674 MW and 8,049 MW, respectively or 95.5% and 95.3% of their corresponding installed capacity.

Oil-based power plants are the least reliable with dependable capacity of 3,286 MW or only 79.1% of its installed capacity of 4,153 MW.

Renewable energy (RE) plants — or those sources from geothermal, hydro, biomass, solar and wind resources — had a dependable capacity of 6,264 MW or 88.5% of the installed capacity of 7,079 MW.

In 2003, dependable capacity as a percentage of installed capacity for coal, oil-based, natural gas and RE plants were at 93.3%, 88.1%, 97.8% and 79.8%, respectively.

In terms of share to the country’s power generation mix, coal-fired power plants saw their share fall compared with 15 years earlier — at 35.4% from 37.4% previously. Gas-fired plants’ share also contracted to 15.2% from 16% in 2003.

RE plants had the second-biggest share at 31.1%, an increase from 30.5% in 2003. The share of oil-based plants also rose to 18.3% from 16% previously.

The country’s installed power capacity is crucial to power developers as Sec. 45 (a) of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) mandates the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to set the numbers annually for installed generating capacity and market share limitation.

The cap set by the ERC is aimed at preventing a person, company, related group or independent power producer administrator, singly or in combination, to own, operate, or control more than 30% of the installed generating capacity per grid, and 25% of the national grid.

For 2018, the ERC capped the maximum power generating capacity of a single entity and its related groups to 5,466,779.34 kilowatts (kW) or no more than 25% of the installed capacity in the national power grid as called for by the law that deregulated the energy sector. — Victor V. Saulon